posted Aug 04, 2000

Privacy Plan Likely to Kick Off Debate Surveillance and Privacy from Government8/4/2000; 10:26:00 AM 'he goal of the plan announced by President Clinton's chief of staff, John Podesta, sounded admirable: to overhaul the nation's privacy laws, harmonizing a patchwork of inconsistent rules and extending to e-mail and mobile phone messages the same strict safeguards against government snooping that now apply to telephone calls.' ...'In arguing that all e-mails should be given the same enhanced protections as telephone calls, Podesta in effect declared that the telephone wiretap law should be the privacy baseline.'By saying that, however, he also signaled his intention to greatly lower the standard that may be protecting a relatively small but fast-growing class of e-mails and other electronic communications: messages created by users of cable-based Internet services. 'That's because the laws governing the cable television industry, the Cable Act of 1984 and the related sections of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have privacy protections for cable subscribers that make the telephone wiretap laws seem positively pallid. '


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